Under 3 percent of the Lithuanian population have been infected with the coronavirus, according to a preliminary results of a serological survey, which tested people for Covid-19 antibodies.
The study, conducted by by Vilnius University and the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, tested a random sample of over 3,000 people from six municipalities to estimate what percentage of the population has been exposed to Covid-19.
The preliminary results show significant territorial differences, with the percentage of positive results ranging from 1.31 in Vilnius to 2.83 in Kaunas, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
Two-thirds of those who had Covid-19 antibodies had not developed any symptoms.
The study involved rapid serological testing of randomly selected volunteers in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda, as well as the districts of Ukmergė, Tauragė, and Zarasai. It lasted for two months, from July 10 to September 10.
The researchers initially hoped to test around 6,500 Lithuanians, but only 3,087 agreed to participate in the study. Despite the lower number of participants, the conclusions are reliable, they assured.
“If there were more participants, the calculations would have been more precise, but there should not be any major drawbacks,” Mindaugas Stankūnas, a professor at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, told LRT RADIO on Friday morning.
“We can conclude that less than 3 percent of the population had coronavirus in Lithuania. We will need more time to confirm the exact percentage,” Stankūnas said.
The last participant was tested on Thursday. Detailed results of the study will be publicly available after the final evaluations.
According to Stankūnas, the research was completed in record time.
“I have 20 years of experience in conducting similar studies, but I don’t remember another research that took only two months to complete,” the professor said.
As of Friday, Lithuania has 3,243 confirmed known coronavirus cases, which is about 0.1 percent of the population. The study suggests, therefore, that the actual count might be at least 20 times bigger.